Green mining involves a cautious balance of natural resources and evolving the equipment to adapt to more sustainable mining practices. “Green mining is defined as technologies, best practices and mining processes that are implemented as a mean to reduce the environmental impacts associated with the extraction and processing of metals and minerals.” Nursery development is a vital process in sustainable mining as it ensures the proliferation of the indigenous species of flora that loses its natural habitat to mining. The nurseries help in rehabilitating the natural ecosystem that is disturbed by mining practices. Nurseries require a dedicated work force trained in horticulture, which in turn generates employment for the rural populace dwelling in the areas around the mines.
Progressive reclamation is practiced in very few mines in India. The process involves, backfilling and afforestation. Backfilling is the process of filling the land with the same earth that is excavated for mining. Backfilling has a lower material cost and involves an easy transportation system. It also helps to reduce the strain on the land resource. After the process of backfilling is completed, biological reclamation is carried out. For biological reclamation, the first step is afforestation, which is carried out to cover the barren land left by mining. The entire process of progressive reclamation helps in generating a trained workforce, which results in an increase in income that leads to the growth of the community.
Explosions carried out in traditional mining releases an array of pollutants and suspended particulate matter into the atmosphere. Sustainable mining eliminates both air pollution and explosion by replacing them with surface mining. Surface mining involves the Surface Miner Machine which has an inbuilt water sprinkler. The water sprinkler continuously sprays water over the land the machine mines over, thereby reducing the pollution and eliminating the process of blasting. This makes surface mining a smarter and more eco –friendly process of mining.
Eco-transplantation is another important process involved in sustainable mining. The trees that are brought down to make mining possible in traditional mining are instead uprooted and transplanted to maintain the balance in the ecosystem, and reduce the ill effects of deforestation. Geo-blanketing is practiced at very few locations in India; it helps in reducing soil erosion and helps in biological restoration.
The water that seeps out of the mines is usually discharged in traditional mining practices, but to make mining more sustainable it must be conserved. The seepage water can be utilized internally at the mines for washing purposes. It can also be used in biological reclamation to irrigate the previously mentioned nurseries and eco-transplanted areas.
Adani Company’s vision is to make the post-mining environment as close to the pre-mining environment as possible. The company has been actively involved in practicing green and sustainable mining to protect the natural ecosystem of the area and reduce the negative impacts that mining has on the environment. The company ensures it practices sustainable mining techniques to reduce the damage that is caused to the environment.